§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how the skills training pilots in North Nottinghamshire and Leeds are being evaluated; how many participants there were; how many sanctions were imposed; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what plans he has to introduce the skills training pilot throughout the United Kingdom. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
Between September 2001 and April 2002 we piloted a number of approaches aimed at encouraging greater take up of basic skills provision by people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. These included testing different mechanisms to identify those with basic skills needs, and the use of financial incentives and/or benefit sanctions to encourage the take up of training.
In North Nottinghamshire we piloted the use of benefit sanctions if a client refused an offer of training or left training early without good cause. In Leeds we combined the use of sanctions with financial incentives of £20 per week on top of their benefit for taking up training and £100 for achieving a basic skills qualification. In the two pilots, 1,623 clients had a possible basic skills need identified. Of these, 18 had sanctions applied, three because they failed to attend a basic skills assessment and 15 because they failed to attend training or left early without good cause.
All the basic skills pilots are subject to an extensive, longitudinal evaluation study. This is looking at both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the pilots. The final evaluation report will be available in summer 2003. We will use the evidence from the evaluation to decide what changes we might make to help encourage more Jobcentre Plus clients to take up offers of help to improve their basic skills.